Call for Unity of 'Non-aligned' Countries


7-15-09, 8:58 am

Editor's note: Slightly excerpted speech delivered by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the opening session of the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of XV Summit of the Non-aligned Movement, July 13, 2009.

It is to me a great honor to open this Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of the XV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. We are pleased to have the opportunity of meeting in this beautiful city of Sharm El Sheikh. In conveying to the Egyptian authorities a well deserved recognition for the excellent conditions created for our work, I think I also express the feelings of all delegations present here.

The Non-Aligned Movement has overcome the difficult moments of the last decade of the twentieth century when, after the end of the so-called Cold War, the relevance of this organization was put to the question.

Our firm and collective beliefs about the strategic need in the face of the serious challenges confronting humankind and the efforts towards its revitalization preserved the full validity of this forum for concerted action as a stalwart for the defense of the common interests of the peoples of the South. Solidarity, adherence to the principles and unity in the struggle have been key factors in the achieved results. When Cuba took up the Presidency of the Non-Aligned Countries Movement for the second time on September, 2006, there were clear signals indicating the revitalization and strengthening of this mechanism for political consensus among developing countries. During the last three years, with the support of all member States, this process has been further consolidated. We arrive to the Fifteenth Summit with a Movement that has earned itself an effective participation in the discussion of some of the most pressing global problems; its voice has deserved recognition and respect at the most important multilateral fora.

The results obtained have been significant, but they are still insufficient when compared to the challenges we have ahead. Our determination to work together for the defense of the founding purposes and principles that gave rise to the Movement, which were reaffirmed and updated at the Fourteenth Summit Conference held in Havana, has set the basis for a long term strategic program for our actions.

The policies and actions that have infringed the UN Charter and International Law; the interference by the big powers against the sovereignty of our States; the wars that continue to massacre innocent civilians with the aim of imposing a certain political models and deprive our peoples from their natural resources; the existence of an unjust and plundering international economic order that now transfers unto the countries of the South the brunt of the global economic crisis, consolidates underdevelopment and increases poverty, hunger and the death of children, women and senior citizens from preventable diseases. They are scourges which constitute enough reasons to strengthen the work of our Movement.

The rich countries of the West continue to bet on the preservation of an international order that is based the use of force, technology, and economic power against the weakest; makes an unequal distribution of the wealth and it is based on irrational patterns of consumerism, destroys the environment and jeopardizes life in the planet, thus making it possible for a few to concentrate the economic and political power and make them decide for all of us.

Global military expenditures today are way over one trillion dollars. Nuclear weapons, which are today far more powerful than those which sowed with terror and death the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, amount to more than 25 000. In real terms, during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, military expenditures in the United States were the highest since the Second World War.

These and other serious challenges are threatening the future of our nations. The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has the responsibility of finding proposals and concerting actions to effectively respond to them. That is the mandate our peoples have given to us. The enjoyment of their right to self-determination, peace and development, depend on that. We have managed to make progress in the achievement of the goals we set ourselves. The Final Document negotiated by our Senior Officials systematizes the experience accumulated along the 48 years of existence of the Movement, and establishes the guidelines that will govern our work in the near future, based on the Plan of Action adopted by our leaders during the Fourteenth Summit held in Havana. We can notice significant achievements.

We have contributed to strengthen the revitalization of the Movement. In New York, the consolidation of the Coordination Bureau is already a fact. The effectiveness of its statements and concrete actions in defense of the interests of all its members has continued to grow. The scope of the Movements actions has expanded. The impact of its work has become visible in several multilateral and international fora such as the UNESCO, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Human Rights Council, the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization.

The activity of the Movement in all these fora has allowed the voice of the South to be heard and taken into account in all debates and in the adoption of decisions related to priority issues for our countries, such as the richness of thinking and the model diversity, and free flow of information, education, the preservation of the world’s cultural patrimony, the total eradication of mass destruction weapons, the inalienable right of our nations to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the improvement of health systems, the cooperation and dialogue on human rights issues, among others.

The coordination and concerted work among the Non-Aligned Movement, the G-77 and China through the Joint Coordination Committee will continue to be decisive, all the more so in the face of a serious economic and global crisis that mainly affects the countries of the South, even though the responsible for it lives in the North.

In passing on the Presidency of the Movement to the sister nation of the Arab Republic of Egypt, we feel the satisfaction of having fulfilled our duty. We are also convinced that there is a lot to be done by the Non-Aligned Movement. I will just refer to some aspects and actions that, in our humble opinion, should be among its priorities:

• To consolidate multilateralism, strict observance for the UN Charter and the International Law as the basis of international relations and solution of international problems. Rejecting unilateralism continues to be a priority. • To intensify all efforts in order to prevent war conflicts by resorting to all the juridical and political instruments contained in the UN Charter, International Law and the Movement’s praxis. When the NAM caucus of the Security Council work together, it has great power. • To offer total political support to the participation of all the countries in the deliberations and decision-making processes aimed at finding the just and equitable solutions required by the serious crises that affect humankind, particularly the global economic, food, energy and environmental crises. • To continue calling for concrete results in the process of nuclear disarmament; this includes the negotiation of a legally binding multilateral treaty for the total eradication of nuclear weapons in a given time. • To support all international efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East; this inevitably includes the solution of the Palestinian problem and the foundation of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. • To accelerate the process to reform the United Nations, particularly the democratization of the Security Council and the strengthening of the capacity for action of the Organization in the fields of economy, trade and finances, as well as the refunding of the international financial institutions. • To support all international actions aimed at improving health indicators in developing countries. To combat diseases affecting particularly the countries of the South as well as the pandemics that do not appear on TV but every year take a toll on the lives of millions of human beings. • To increase demand for the cancelation of the debt, already paid, for the technology and resources transference and the fulfillment of the promises of official aid to development. • To multiply the South-South solidarity and cooperation and promote the globalization of solidarity as a way to solve the development problems that affect our countries.